Friday, August 28, 2009

First week of class at AUS

Sharjah, 29 Aug 2009
It's Friday, the start of our weekend here in the UAE. The first week of class started with Ramadan which runs through to September 17. That means we will have to take into consideration how fasting affects our students. I'm teaching four courses -- two sections of T V production and performance, and one section each of field reporting with camcorders, and the multimedia course in which students will manage the e-media website we created last year. I'm really fortunate that my tech assistant Herman Coutinho from Mumbai is back from his vacation. We couldn't do the website or the TV studio course and field reporting without him. My students will be producing the 1/2 hour MCM Fortnightly News newscast and will manage the website, both planning for distribution on the internet. I'll start the TV production class with lessons on editing video with iMovie because the TV studio is in the process of being dehumidified after a summer of being shutdown. Our TV studio is located in the Architecture building across the quad from our A&S NAB building and was shut down because Architecture was under rennovation.

This week was the week of rolling brownouts in Sharjah. AUS was hit several times. My flat's electricity went out only once, on Wednesday from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. It was warm with temps at 103 degrees, but because our flats are made of thick concrete and tiled floors, it remained sufficiently cool-warm. I went to bed early because I had no access to my computer or TV. The brownouts were only in selected parts of Sharjah. The University of Sharjah next door was not affected.

Some students are not showing up for class because there was a rumor (unfounded) that the dorm had swine flu. I heard some students actually have returned home. Several profs have suggested we teach online from our flats for the next two weeks. That's not possible for my classes because we need to use the mac lab. The faculty with young kids seem to be the most concerned.

I'm hoping to go to Sharafs tomorrow. It's our big box store, like Best Buy, that opened up in June in downtown Sharjah. Other news here is that the Sharaj Coop supermarket, just 5 minutes from AUS, is building a mall extension. New villas have gone up all along the route to Sharjah Coop. It really is a SimCity in progress here.

New foster cat Ceasar

Sharjah, 29 Aug 2009
I've started fostering again with the Sharjah Feline Friends. Feline rep David Oliver and I picked up just over a year-old male cat Ceasar from the newly built Sharjah Municipality Animal Shelter. He was in one of the rooms, all of them glass from floor to ceiling, all by himself because he intensely dislikes cats. He like people. Ceasar is over a year old. He grew up at a Sharjah restaurant. The chef became partial to him and would feed him under the table by slipping him raw chicken and beef. When the restaurant singer Theresa heard that the authorities were coming to round up cats, she took in Ceasar and others. She has 14 cats and because Ceasar doesn't like cats, she put him in the garden shed in a cage by himself. He was there for a month before coming to the shelter in June. He was put in the nice room all by himself where he stayed until I picked him up, about 3 months. That meant the room was not available for other cats and kittens.

The shelter has a total of about 33 abandoned cats and kittens. The new vet starts on Sept 1. She is Australian and works also at the Equine Animal Hospital which is located close by. The shelter is only 10 minutes from AUS.

The first night in my flat, Ceasar cried and wandered around, knocking things around. Daylight came and he calmed down and what a nice cat he is. He purrs, loves a good rub down, loves to be brushed.

His second day in my flat last Monday I had to go to campus to teach classes. He was in my flat alone. I checked on him during the day. He was sleeping under the blanket in my bedroom. He has since migrated to the guest room and sleeps under the comforter. He still is quite shy of people. My "maid" Anbu came in yesterday to clean my flat. Ceasar literally flew threw the air to his safe spot on the bed and under the comforter where he stayed the entire time Anbu was here.
Have you ever heard of a cat that doesn't snoop around in the kitchen? This is the rare one. When I'm fixing my meals, Ceasar comes only as far as the doorway and peeks around it to see what I'm doing. He is probably hoping for a gourmet meal!
Ceasar loves playing with toy mice, and he also loves the black rope that our Sharjah cat Jameela played with. He hid all the toy mice under the side table in the livingroom. It took me several days to find them. He was so happy to see them again, and he immediately threw them into the air.

Did you notice that one of Ceasar's ears is clipped at the very tip. This is a pratice that vet Jim from Belgium does. I think he told me he does this when cats are brought in and it looks like they may be released outside again. I think it is a signal to authorities that the cat has been vaccinated for rabies and neutered or spayed.

Ceasar will go up for adoption as soon as David and the shelter director Emma can arrange an adoption day, probably after Ramadan in late September. He will be a very nice "family" member, and especially if there are children to play with him.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peggy's office with a view

My new office in the AUS-MCM Department faces the University of Sharjah next door and the clock tower toward the right. The domed buildings are on the campus of the University of Sharjah. The haze may be caused by the high humidity we are currently experiencing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jameela at home in Laramie (video)

A short clip of Jameela purring when she first came home. Turn up your sound to hear her.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sharjah cat Jameela's first day on American soil in our backyard on June 9, 2009.